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Projector or Plasma

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by LJT, Feb 17, 2003.

  1. LJT

    LJT
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    It's quandry time for me. I want to upgrade from my Phillips hopper sv10. I like the concept od PJ's but the problems of PJ's are making me swing to plasma.


    1) Inconvenience of set up
    2) Progressive muck in the light engine and on the optics and the cost of cleaning
    3) The limited lamp life and cost on renewal. (I accept that this is improving with economy settings available) That still only means realistically 3-6000 HRS

    Now a plasma screen seems to offer
    1) Easy set up
    2) No problem whatsover with cleaning. Why a friend can have a fag in the no-smoking area of my lounge!
    3) Then theres the longevity with Plasma's life expectancy up to 20-30000 hrs.

    I realise of course that the pJ offers a much larger scale of image.
    But what about picture quality i.e. conrast, definition, fan noise even.
    I'd appreciate any opinions on the virtues and negatives of both mediums.
     
  2. Bristol Pete

    Bristol Pete
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    However, I dont know whether to buy an RPTV or a PJ.
    To put it mildly, can a PJ cut the mustard picture wise?
    It would be nice to have a big image but not if it looks poor.
     
  3. Spacecat

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    it all depends what you want ?? if you want a nice TV get a plasma.If you want a CINEMA in your house get a projector.
     
  4. LJT

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    Captain Benifit. "We're in the same boat"
    I sent this post to the LCD Projector forum as well as plasma and LCD. So far I've had three replies, yours being one. The remaininng two post have kindly responded but don't really address the issue.
    Both relate to size of image e.g. "If you want home cinema it has to be projector".
    Of course this is important , howevere how big can you go?.

    In Hi-Fi terms many feel the louder, the more bass and volume the better. If only it were as simple as this. My projector is out of action at the moment and I've had to resort to a 10 year old Hitachi tv. I have to say that once re accustomed to the size other qualities shine through.


    So for me its not just sheer screen size that counts it's currently a compromise between size, definition, longevity and economics of use.
    Back to the Hi-Fi analogy. Loud and bass ain't enough. Detail resolution, ability to play at low volumes and still retain dynamics are paramount.

    Of course with hi-fi, longevity isn't as obvious, unless you use valves and vinyl.

    To put it simply three questions
    1) Which has the better quality in terms of image definition and satisfaction. Which offers greater insight into the recorded worlds that we see
    2) Which is more economical to run and maintain quality?
    3) Above a certain image size in a domestic environment does it matter? how important is this factor
     
  5. theritz

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    LJT,

    Your question, to a large extent, answers itself. If you're unhappy with the inconvenience of setting up a PJ, find the possible lamp life/replacement cost an issue, regard the image size as not being a critical issue, and are attracted by the more convenient aspects of a plasma screen, then it would look like a plasma screen might be a more suitable choice for you - and thats fine - the issue here is what suits you, not what might suit anyone else.

    For me, I find that the image size and quality from my PJ is in a different class to a plasma screen - but I'm fortunate to have a light controlled room dedicated for the Pj, screen and sound system. When the set-up was in our sitting room, it was a bit of a pain to set up the PJ, and a 7' screen on the wall looked odd ;) .

    As far as image quality is concerned, sure, LCD projectors have their foibles - black levels could be better, screendoor can also be an issue, colour uniformity can be variable etc. etc. But I've also seen plasma screens with crawlies, poor colour rendition etc. etc. - so its really down to personal choice.

    I'd suggest that you could help your decision making by seeing one or two of the newer native 16:9 projectors in action, the Sanyo Z1, or the Sony HS10, the AE100 is currently available for £800, a complete bargain. I reckon you'd be pleasantly surprised by the picture quality. As far as the inconvenience factor is concerned, have a think about whether you can cieling mount a projector, and mount a pull-down screen behind a pelmet, or have it drop through a slot in your ceiling - if you still fancy the big image, there are ways around most of the inconvenience.

    Of course, Plasma screens have their advantages too - truly cool looking telly, but most of the peeps hanging out here get a buzz from the impact of a truly big image - I certainly do.

    You posed three questions:


    1) Which has the better quality in terms of image definition and satisfaction. Which offers greater insight into the recorded worlds that we see

    I use the PJ for watching mostly movies, some football, occasional TV drama, and for me it really is the best - you see movies etc, in a way that mimics the cinema experience - immersive, and on a visual scale that lets you experience the movie as the director intended.


    2) Which is more economical to run and maintain quality?

    Well, I reckon that I'll use mine for about 1000/1200 hrs a year - its not used as a telly - so I'll be upgrading the PJ long before it needs a new lamp. Even at that, if the lamp costs, say £300, then thats a running cost of about £6 a month - not a pertinent economic issue, compared with the benefit to me. You should also consider how good an image you're likely to get from a plasma screen after four years of viewing - I've seen some in pubs/used as commercial displays where they get unremitting use, and their images don't look too smart - but this is just an anecdotal observation. Dust in the lightpath/optics of a PJ is a £3 can of compressed air and 10 minutes work, image burn on a plasma is death. I reckon a smoke free environment would be a good idea with a plasma too, most have to be cooled by fans or convection, which means that smoke/gunge will get to the innards anyway.

    3) Above a certain image size in a domestic environment does it matter? how important is this factor

    You can only answer this one yourself - I wanted an image on a scale that would give the cinema experience, so the image size matters - I don't see any diminuition in pic quality from 6' to 7', but agree that it takes some effort to integrate this into a domestic environment.


    Captain Benefit,

    AS far as picture quality goes, you'll only be able to make a judgement on this yourself by demoing a few projectors.... imo, a projector makes a RPTV look pants - but it all depends on light control, source and set up for the PJ, versus what looks like a soft image and narrow viewing cone for a RPTV. TBH I've only seen RPTVs in places like Currys and Dixons, and their setup is usually awful, so its hard to say.



    Don't take the lack of reaction to your questions as careless - this area of the forum is pretty quiet at the weekends.


    All the best,


    Sean G.
     
  6. Robbie Gnome

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    Hi, have to join in on this link. Am in the enviable position of owning both a 51" Sony Rear Projection TV and a native 16:9 Sony Front Projector. Image quality of the Front Projector is staggering when you consider you get change out of £1600 including a 7 foot 16:9 manual screen. We decided to move the TV into the bedroom and use the Front Projector for day to day use. Only nagging feeling was we would get used to the size ... WRONG ... The smile factor when you put a film on like Titanic or Gladiator is amazing. It is one of the few AV toys I have bought that my other half hasn't crucified me over! Plasma is cool looking but for the amount you are going to spend, go L A R G E! Trust me you will be smiling every time you turn it on. Hope this helps.
     
  7. rooster

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    I too was a bit unsure what road to go down, ended up going for a pj after reading good things on here. I have to say i am glad I did. The Picture quality has to be seen to be believed. I am still in awe of it. Already 2 of my mates are thinking about getting one after seeing mine in action. A 42 inch plasma just fails in comparison if you ask me.
     
  8. TT9

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    I'll add my two cents as I have been in the same boat:

    I spent months on the Plasma board, silently reading everything trying to make my mind up between the Panny and Pio plasma. After deciding on the 433MXE I went to see the top four sellers, including these two back to back. I had budgeted £4k for the tv, wall mount stand, Nordost cabling etc.

    After all this I have sitting in my room a Sony HS10. The place I went also had this projector showing and to be honest I had not really taken too much an interest in projectors and so was unaware of the quality. The image is outstanding and ofcourse the scale of watching a 7ft picture in your own house is breathtaking. For every person who comes around for a look at my stuff, there is another jaw to pick off the floor. Never mind the Tag, the Bryston or what is done with the audio, everyone leaves with the visual side fixed into their mind.

    The quality is unbelievable and this is from a £2k projector - half the price nearly of a plasma. What must the big Simm's be like ?

    I do not have it fixed or mounted and don't even have a screen. At movie time, I put it onto the coffee table and project against a white wall. And when i'm finished, it goes back under the table. No mess, no hassle, just breathtaking cinematic images.

    My advice would be, if you want something purely for movies (a cinema) get a projector. If you need something which will encompass regular tv viewing as well then you may be better off with a Plasma. For me it was the projector and I have never looked back. Awesome.

    Steve.
     
  9. John_N

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    Hi

    I think it's horses for courses. I looked at both plasma and projector and I currently have a projector.

    You need to look at what is best for your situation.

    The facts are:

    a) AFAIK plasma comes in 2 main resolutions: 800 * 600 and 1024 * 768 I think - this is looking at a 42 inch plasma. Many projectors have higher resolution than this - the HS10 - for example is 1368 * 768. Despite the fact that this resolution is to some extent not fully used by the source material, it helps in the final scaling and rendering and reduces jaggies and other artifacts. The scaler in a home cinema projector is also often high quality. I believe that the scalers in some plasma screens are pretty poor.

    b) Plasma is self illuminating and looks like a telly. A projector image looks more like a cinema image. For ease of use and a straight forward telly substitution, a plasma is better. It appears brighter and doesn't need the same light control that a projector does.

    However, for recreating the theatre experience in your home, a projector can not be beaten - just due to the sheer size and resolution of the picture. For dedicated film watching, front projection is definitely king.

    c) Bear in mind that when a plasma is hanging on the wall, it actually looks pretty small. A relative of mine has a 42" plasma and to be honest once it was on the wall I thought it looked a bit puny really. Picture was not really big enough. For most people, a plasma on the wall will be just as far away, if not further away than their existing TV set and so you might not see an increase in perceived size.

    d)Burn in on plasma is indeed totally fatal and they have a limited lifespan after which they are scrap and need to be replaced - just like a neon tube they wear out (plasma TV is basically based on the same technology as a neon sign).

    So there you have it. If you want a device to behave basically like a TV - just a bit bigger and flatter - then a plasma is ideal. It's nothing revolutionary - just a flat 42" (or 50" or whatever) telly. The contrast ratio is pretty similar to CRT and they are quite bright so don't need light control.

    If you want a device to really make a difference to the way you watch films, then use a projector. The size is larger. The image (from a good projector) is better than anything plasma can manage (in terms of resolution, detail) - contrast ratio can be very similar to plasma (I know the plasma manufacturers quote contrast of 3000:1 on some units but this is an example of playing with the figures - I believe the real figure is closer to 1000:1 )

    You also pay a price premium for plasma. If I were you I wouldn't get a plasma yet because prices are still too high.

    Projector disadvantages:
    costly to set up - need a screen
    fan noise
    need light control
    tend to be best in a dedicated room.

    Plasma disadvantages
    relatively small
    heavy
    rather expensive

    not commonly available in resolution exceeding 1024*768 AFAIK.

    That's my 2p worth anyway.


    Oh - Rear projection TV...... :laugh: Picture quality is TERRIBLE. not really a serious contender in the image quality stakes. Plus very large bulky plastic cabinets... yuck. Wouldn't touch a RPTV with a barge pole to be honest.
     
  10. voodooflux

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    TT9 - know exactly what you mean. I've also spent a few months over on the plasma forum, deciding between the Panny and Pioneer plasmas.

    Pretty much decided on the Pioneer 433MXE to go in my garage conversion, until I saw roosters set up on his website, and now I'm thinking Sony HS10.

    v.f.
     
  11. Paul D

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    I'm fortunate to be able to choose one or the other!.

    I have the Panasonic 42" plasma, and a Barco 808s CRT projector showing on a 100" diagonal, 7' wide screen.

    The plasma is setup in the living room, the projector in a dedicated cinema room. ( pictures of the cinema room www.pauldowning.co.uk )

    Before anyone asks, no i'm not loaded i just spent my limited funds wisely!. ( www.b4projection.co.uk !)

    Now to the question of which is best, the Plasma or the Projector?

    This will depend on how you wish to setup your home cinema.

    Room size and layout may decide if a projector is even an option etc.

    If you have a "light controlled" dedicated viewing room, then the front projector is the way to go. That is until Plasmas (or FEDS) start to ship above 80"s or so!.

    If you can't control light in the room, in a living room for example then i would suggest a plasma every time.

    The reasons i give above are for practicality. ie having the living room blacked out during the day just to watch a projector just won't work for other members of the family etc.

    Just the same that plasmas are still too small to make a dedicated cinema room look really impressive.

    Having "any" light in the room with a front projection system will destroy the base black level (and image punch). But i have found watching things like football is ok with some ambient light. This is due to the fact that sports don't have dark scenes etc!.

    Then there is picture quality.....

    Off the cuff i would say my plasma blows the pants of ANY projector i have seen.
    It is very sharp
    It has high contrast/brightness
    Fantastic colours

    But picture "quality" isn't just about the above things.
    My barco shows far more detail (due to the bigger/high resolution image), goes to zero black level giving excellent contast, and is very bright in a darkened room.
    It also gives a "stunning" but "different" image!.

    Then there is the "Cinema" feel to remember!

    If i watch the same film in both rooms, they are different on an emotional level.

    With the lights on or off in the living room, i can watch a film and really enjoy the pristine image on offer from the 42" plasma. I get the same surround effects of my cinema room, and i don't have any hassle of firing the projector up in advance.

    BUT!!!

    There is something missing from the experience...! :suicide:

    I do think screen size has something to do with whats missing, as it gives a more "immersive" experience.

    Also going upstairs to my cinema room involves more effort and plannning.
    It's maybe similiar to queing for a rollercoaster ride. Although nobody likes queing, the wait does enhance the the experience due to the heightened anticipation etc.
    Also because the dedicated room is less used than the living room, you get a feeling that you have "gone out".

    So the projector is always used to watch a new film first.
    Epic films like Star Wars etc, just don't seem as impressive on the plasma.

    This may change when larger Plasma (or FEDS) screens become available next year.
    They will have to increase the resolution of these larger screens as well, or screendoor may be a problem! :smoke:
     
  12. richard plumb

    richard plumb
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    although I only have a 32" widescreen CRT, I actually think there is more perceivable resolution on my projector (a teeny little AE100)

    I think a lot of this is down to the image being blown up so big, but I often see little details in movies that I never noticed before.
     

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